Friday Facts About Living to Be 100

As far as I know, no one is getting younger.

With every birthday, I think about the people I've known who enjoyed a healthy old age and those who were beset with a myriad of medical  issues.


This advice is based on my observation of my maternal grandfather who made it to 100 and had no health issues until age 98.

I think it's no surprise that his lifestyle was exactly what medical authorities now recommend for good health.

When my Papa began to have health problems, he'd been living in a nursing home for a few years. I truly believe the change in his diet to the "Standard American Diet" was responsible for the gradual downturn in his health that eventually led to arthritis pain which decreased his ability to walk, weight gain due to lack of the exercise he'd had all of his life, and the developtment of heart problems.

Prior to the nursing home, this is how he lived.

1. Diet.

He ate mostly vegetables grown in his own garden, whole grains, and legumes. He ate fruit that was in season. 

Breakfast was usually hot cooked cereal, homemade biscuits, and occasionally scrambled eggs and maybe a slice of ham or bacon. 

Lunch, which he called dinner, was vegetables and cornbread. 

Supper—the evening meal most people now call dinner—was a lighter version of the noonday meal. 

2. Diet Don'ts.

He did not butter biscuits, cornbread, etc.—only a small amount on toast. He did not snack between meals. He did not eat chips or other salty items. He did not eat dessert or sweets on a regular basis. Sweets like cake or pie was a holiday exception. He didn't eat fast food. He didn't drink juice. He drank water, iced tea in hot weather, and a cup of coffee with his breakfast.

3. Exercise

He walked every day of his life. If the weather was bad, he lessened the distance he walked, but he still walked. As he walked, he would "whistle a happy tune" as the old folk song says.

4. Sun Exposure.

He never had a skin cancer or pre-cancer. He was born long before sunscreen was invented. Like most people of his generation, he wore his sun screen in the form of a hat, long sleeve shirts, and long pants.

When he dressed up, he had a beautiful fedora and looked like a handsome actor in an old black and white movie. 

When he worked out in the sun, he never wore a cap, but a "work" hat which shaded his face and the back of his neck.

5. Vitamins and supplements.

He never took any. He ate whole, unprocessed foods. Apparently, that gave him the best nutrition.

6. Stress management.

He would take his pocket knife out, sit under a shade tree, pick up a stick or broken twig, and whittle, paring the piece of wood down to satiny smoothness. That was Zen meditation for him.

7. Emotional attitude.

He was optimistic and happy. He hummed songs as he worked or whistled. I never heard him speak ill of anyone. 

He didn't worry or obsess over politics or old age or ill health or anything we all feel anxiety about. 

He lived through WWI, the Great Depression, WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and all the other traumas of the 19th and most of the 20th century without falling into hopelessness and despair.

He loved God, family, and country and believed in the inherent goodness of humanity.

8. Mental faculties.

He read every day: newspapers, Readers Digest, and books. He worked crossword puzzles and tried to learn something new every day—something he taught me to do. When he was past 80, he bought a typewriter and taught himself to write. He was mentally as sharp on the day he passed as he'd been throughout his life.

9. Relationships.

He was friendly and outgoing and immediately made friends when he moved into the nursing home. He outlived my grandmother by nearly 20 years and all of his contemporaries yet he didn't mope and give in to depression. 

He managed to move on and make new friends and relationships. He always had a smile for those who needed it and a sympathetic ear to listen to others. He enjoyed a good conversation and had a ready laugh.

All of the above enabled my grandfather to live a healthy old age. I highly recommend his lifestyle to you.


How are you living your life as the years pass? Do you need to make changes? Start now.

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